In 2007, Hit-Boy sold Jennifer Lopez the beat for the song “Forever.” He recalls the sale as his first on a professional level, but also the moment he felt “in the game” and ready to “turn up.” Nearly 16 years later, that’s exactly what the producer has done.
Despite moments of financial ruin, Hit-Boy reigned over the 2010s by collecting production credits (and awards) alongside some of the industry’s hottest names. We’re talking: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Travis Scott, Rihanna, Kelly Rowland, Ariana Grande, Big Sean, Nipsey Hussle, and Nas — to name a few.
By the time Hit-Boy joins The Shade Room’s Editor, Cassandra Santiago, for a virtual interview on the first day of Black Music Month, he’s a household name. He credits the song “N****s in Paris” for leading him to where he’s now — a three-time Grammy winner still selling beats from his early days. Fun fact: Beyoncé’s “Thique” was a 2014 beat.
Hit-Boy Is MORE Than A Producer, He’s An Artist
Hit-Boy’s years grinding in the studio has afforded him what he calls “cheat codes.” Now, he’s applying all that information to his music-making. Yes, he’s still producing for cemented and rising legends, but also for himself.
More than a beat maker and song surgeon, Hit-Boy is also an artist. He touched a mic before the board, but learning to assemble tracks informs his renewed focus on rapping.
“It ain’t a new thing, I’ve been [making music] since I was 13, but the beats just kinda were so much fun to me that I just took a liking to it. And it also… I feel like if I was just rapping the whole time, who knows what would’ve happened? But me producing, I got a lot more longevity, a lot more relationships I was able to build and get people’s trust and respect,” Hit-Boy said. “So I feel like I’m glad the production stuff took off first because now I can produce the hell out of myself. I can make myself sound as good as I want to sound.”
Only halfway through 2023, Hit-Boy has released two projects, teased a sequel, and dropped more than a few singles. The first project was a Musiq Soulchild collab named “Victims & Villains.” The second was a solo project called ‘Surf Or Drown.’ It features an intro from Hit-Boy’s father, Big Hit.
In our nearly 30-minute interview, Big Hit spent much of the time entertaining Hit-Boy’s toddler son, Chauncey Hollis III. He spoke only when spoken to, listening intently to the highlights of his son’s rise to the top.
When asked, Big Hit mentions feeling “devastated” at being snatched from his son’s industry climb. In 2012, he was reportedly sentenced to 12 years for a hit-and-run incident.
Nine years after he first went in, Big Hit was released in May and made headlines for how he and Hit-Boy bee-lined to the studio. They spent hours there, even returning the next day. Big Hit compares the feeling of recording alongside his son again to losing his virginity.
“It’s like having sex again for the first time. It’s just like I was waiting on that,” Big Hit said. “That was what got me off. It had me just like in that zone — in bliss.”
By the end of May, Hit-Boy and Big Hit had released their first song collab in years, “Reckless and Ratchet.” The track is meant to tease the “Surf or Drown” sequel, expected this month. At least four music videos have followed the raunchy track.
Surf Or Drown 2 loading… “Reckless and Ratchet” video out now featuring my dad Big Hit pic.twitter.com/sRfqfyhnni
— Hit-Boy (@Hit_Boy) May 29, 2023
Big Hit Talks Being A Fan Of His Son’s Work And Newfound Grandpa Duties
Now that he’s out, Big Hit also plans to release an album executive produced by Hit-Boy. A documentary is in the works, and he anticipates a clothing and jewelry line. Himself aside, the fellow rapper isn’t shy about being a fan of his son’s career.
“… I been a fan. I knew he always had it in him. He just needed to step it up and just recognize who he was internally. Have a introspection — gotta bring it up outta him. It’s like a lion being in the jungle, you take him out, raise him up. He don’t really know he’s a killer until you put him back in that environment.”
Meanwhile, Hit-Boy credits his father with inspiring him during the short time they’ve been living together, from his exercise to his studio habits. The producer calls the time together “a good balance.” And his three-year-old is also loving getting to know his grandfather.
“They’ve been around each other for three weeks, and he’s three years old, and it seems like they’ve been around each other the whole time. It’s the wildest thing ever. He don’t even wanna hang with me no more. He wakes up at like 7:30 in the morning — the first thing he says is, ‘Where’s my grandpa?’ He don’t say nothing else, then he get up, go upstairs and go kick it with his grandpa.”
For Big Hit, the time with his son and grandson is heaven-sent.
“It’s a blessing. I foreseen this, and I just prayed about it, manifested, spoke it, and brought it to existence. I see me every day when I look at him, I see me when I look at him,” he said, gesturing to Hit-Boy and Chauncey III. “It’s all over again, it’s a repeat, it’s a superstar in the making.”
Just ahead of Father’s Day, Big-Hit says he hopes to pass on his dad’s confidence to Chauncey in the same way he’s embodied it.
As for the music, Hit-Boy wakes up daily looking for ways to “level up” his skills. His goal is to continue making everlasting music on the board AND the mic.
“… All the stuff I’ve been doing led me to this place to where my respect level is just different now and it hasn’t even been like me making like top-charting, number one records. It’s just stuff that hits home and is really like gon like stand the test of time vs. like a moment.”